1999 YLRL Convention

The following appeared in the Monday, August 2, 1999 issue of the Press Telegram. You have permission to use the article as long as the name, date, etc. is included, as it is copywrited.

Pictures taken during the convention will be up here soon.


A small ham world
Queen Mary: Ladies' Radio League celebrates 60 years of connecting.

By Paul Young
Staff Writer

LONG BEACH - A group of about 120 women from the Young Ladies' Radio League Inc. finished up a three-day ham radio operators convention at the Queen Mary Sunday, spending their days hammin' it up with the corners of the planet, getting to know each other and celebrating the organization's 60th anniversary.

"It's like fishing," said Val Von Holt, a ham operator from Nevada. "You just throw it (a message) out and you don't know what you'll get back. Sometimes, you'll find friends."

Some of those friends met for the first time at the weekend convention, hugging and laughing and smiling at first sight, said event chairwoman Martha Barron of Long Beach. It was nice to finally put a ham call number with a face.

For those who had never been to Long Beach, it was a thrill to see the world's top ham radio station destination, said John Rodgers, who works in the Wireless Room at the Queen Mary. More people try to contact the ship than anywhere else on the planet.

Soon after contact, a souvenir postcard comes in the mail, proudly displaying the ship and its wireless room. Operators' goal is to make contact with (and collect postcards from) as many worldwide ham destinations as possible.

With modern technology, Morse code isn't the only means of communication that hams have. They also have microphones and computers. They say it's communication that almost never fails.

During emergencies and natural disasters, when electrical and phone lines are down, hams are tapped to communicate with the affected area. They can also get groups together to talk, similar to Internet "chat rooms."

Would-be amateur radio operators must take a ham course and pass a 50-question test. Any of the women from the Young Ladies' Radio League, Inc. will tell you it's worth it.

In the middle of the night, when you can't sleep and it's too late to call your best friend, said one woman, you can always pick up the radio and talk. There is always somebody there.

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